The Swede Nils Mattsson Kiöping (1621–1680) was a priest’s son and a bastard grandson of the Queen’s brother. From 1648 to 1656 he travelled around the coasts of Africa, Arabia and southern Asia before returning home and becoming a naval officer. He left two longer pieces of writing: the first book in Swedish about the area he sailed in, published in 1667, and an autobiographical essay published posthumously in 1773. This annotated volume contains the first translation into another language of both.
The reader is invited to join the curious and perceptive Swede as he wonders at the inhabitants of coastal Africa, visits St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai, serves in the army of the Persian Shah, studies the ruins of Persepolis, searches for Old Testament sites in Mesopotamia, visits India’s Malabar coast, attends the cremation of a provincial governor under the Sultan of Golconda, catches wild elephants in Sri Lanka, visits Java and is shipwrecked off Taiwan.
Martin Rundkvist is an associate research professor of archaeology at the University of todz, Poland.
Carina Lidström is senior lecturer at the School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at Örebro University.